By Radwan Jakeem
NEW YORK | ASTANA (IDN) – “Today, there are about 300 million young people aged 18 to 30 years in the world who do not have a permanent job or are unemployed,” said Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev officially launching in Astana, the capital city, ‘2019 the Year of the Youth’ that focuses on housing, employment and adequate education for young people.
Similar to the ‘Youth 2030: The United Nations Youth Strategy’, initiated by UN Secretary-General António Guterres at a high-level event of the 73rd session of the General Assembly in September 2018, the Year of the Youth aims at meeting young people’s needs, and recognises their positive contributions as agents of change.
Underlining the importance of the Year of the Youth, President Nazarbayev cited scientific forecasts that by 2050 half of the current professions will be replaced by artificial intelligence. Young people for highly qualified professions, where artificial intelligence cannot replace human beings, will however still be required, he added. They include scientists, top managers, culture experts, IT experts and medical doctors.
The Kazakh President was speaking at an impressive ceremony on January 23 in the capital city’s eight storey ‘Nur Alem’ pavilion housing the first technological museum of energy of the future in Kazakhstan where the international specialized exposition EXPO 2017 drew 4 million visitors from 180 countries from June 10 to September 10, 2017.
Winners of the ‘100 New Faces of Kazakhstan’ competition, the Bolashak scholarship graduates, young scientists and businesspersons took part in the event where the Year of the Youth logo, symbolising the flight of a flock of cranes, was presented.
The Bolashak international scholarship is awarded to high-performing students from Kazakhstan to study overseas all-expenses paid, provided that they return to Kazakhstan to work for at least five years after graduation.
Explaining a focal point of the Year of the Youth, President Nazarbayev said that in Astana, Almaty and Shymkent, the government would build at least 1,000 rental apartments annually for working youth.
While the ‘Atameken’ National Chamber of Entrepreneurs has been entrusted to continue work on business education for young people, the Kazakh government plans to expand the programme of business grant support to up to 20,000 grants for young people. Approximately 32 billion tenge (US$84.4 million) will be allocated for these purposes.
The government will also establish a fund to support start-ups created by young people. President Nazarbayev said he was impressed by the success of young entrepreneurs who had presented projects in animal husbandry and food supply at the exhibition marking the event.
He added that the availability and quality of higher education would be improved. In addition to 20,000 grants under the Five Social Initiatives of 2018 and 75,000 new places in dormitories, scholarships will also be made available for students who are engaged in volunteering.
The President said that grant funding for projects by young scientists will be increased by 3 billion tenge (US$7.9 million) annually. The development of distance learning and evening education and the promotion of the Open University project were also presented at the exhibition. In terms of the level of youth education, today Kazakhstan is ranked 15th in the world and 9th in literacy level.
President Nazarbayev also dealt with the Zhas Maman (Young Specialist) programme, involving the modernisation of educational institutions in all regions of the country. In each region, one top university and ten top colleges should update the technical base, invite foreign professors and raise the level of teaching to the international level, he said. More than 60 billion tenge (US$158.2 million) will be allocated for these purposes annually.
Furthermore, the Zhasyl El (Green Nation) movement will be used to launch Green City – Green Village programme, involving the planting of greenery in all settlements of the country, both cities and villages.
Along with this, the government will develop the student construction movement, which will be used in large construction projects, especially in the construction of a new centre of the Turkestan region.
The youth movement of the People’s Assembly of Kazakhstan availed of the launch of the Year of the Youth to put forward an initiative to plant an apple orchard in Astana.
“The Year of Youth is a great opportunity not just to take part in the reforms taking place but also to contribute to their realization,” said Tamila Rozmetova at the opening ceremony of the Year of Youth.
“I have been running the Saraishyk breed livestock farm, the plant for the production and processing of Alpine goats milk. There are more than 1,000 goats at the farm. We produce 15 dairy products of export potential. We are young and already have achieved a lot,” she added.
According to her, the ‘Auyl Yel Besigi special project is the true social lift for rural youth. “The land is an ocean of opportunities, it is a huge labour market for youth to find and build their future,” she stressed.
“The youth movement of the People’s Assembly of Kazakhstan Janghyru Zholy would like to support with a certain project. We would like to plant the apple orchid in Astana this spring. We have selected four frost- and wind-resistant varieties of apples,” Rozmetova said.
President Nazarbayev supported the initiative and asked Astana Mayor Bakhyt Sultanov to locate the future apple orchard.
“The Year of Youth will open new horizons for young Kazakhstanis. They will have all necessary conditions in place to make their ideas reality,” Amina Khamzina, coordinator of the Young Politician Club of the Zhas Otan, the youth branch of the Nur Otan Party, told Kazinform news agency.
She said that participants of the Youth Forum with the participation of President Nazarbayev had discussed a lot of things that are of paramount importance for Kazakhstani youth. Welcoming the initiatives announced at the forum, she said: “We, the youth, have always been the generators of bold ideas. The Year of Youth will let us contribute to the development and prosperity of the nation. I believe that the future of Kazakhstan is in safe hands.” [IDN-InDepthNews – 07 February 2019]
Photo: Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev announced 2019 as the year of youth. Credit: assembly.kz
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